LIMESTONE TWP. – A Fairmount City man is recovering after he was accidentally shot in the woods while hunting on New Year’s Eve in Limestone Township.
Brandon Dunkle, 42, was reportedly shot in the leg with a muzzleloader fired by another hunter.
According to Game Commission officials, Dunkle was one of 23 hunters who were working together on Dec. 31, during flintlock season, to chase deer toward each other. Dunkle, along with 10 others, was pushing a section of woods to the remaining 13 hunters.
During that time, a doe stopped in front of a brush pile approximately 40 yards away. Joseph Larson, 42, of Corsica, who was one of the hunters, reportedly fired a shot from his muzzleloader at the deer, but instead struck Dunkle in the right thigh.
Game Commission officials said Larson did not see Dunkle on the other side of the brush pile when he fired the .50 caliber rifle. The sabot-style bullet traveled approximately 76 yards before striking Dunkle.
Following the incident, reports state, Dunkle’s fellow hunters were able to construct a makeshift tourniquet to place around the wound. Dunkle was then carried up a hill where he was transported by a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) to Kemmer Road, where he was taken by helicopter to a trauma hospital in Allegheny County for treatment.
The commission reported that Dunkle’s injury was tended to “without major surgery,” and he was released from the hospital the next day.
Although muzzleloader hunters are not required to wear bright colors in the late season running through Jan. 17, officials said Dunkle was wearing bright orange clothing at the time of the shooting.
Game Commission officers said the incident remains under investigation, and it is still uncertain whether charges will be filed.